Expedia loses a tough one; Aware powers on

In our first game of SHL action on February 4th, we had Expedia facing off against the Sukhumvit Spitfires. Expedia just can’t seem to find a way to get into the win column, having lost their last eight games.

The first period saw lots of action, with plenty of shots on net, but both netminders were on their game, not letting anything by them until there were just over three minutes left in the first period when Adrian Meyers hit Ernesto Bauer with a pass, and Bauer put the puck past Yves Gaboriault.

Expedia’s captain Mike Wilson on the prowl.

The second period saw the play moving quickly up and down the ice, with both teams getting a number of scoring opportunities, but neither team could capitalize on their chances and the second period ended with the Spitfires still leading 1-0.

Just over two minutes into the third period saw Meyers attempting to clear the puck out of the Spitfires zone, but sending it over the glass instead, causing him to get a delay-of-game penalty. Expedia took advantage of this penalty and substitute Stephen Sproule found Jordan Ashton who tied it up one goal apiece.

At 4:45, Jari Eerikainen was called for slashing, and a minute into the power play the Spitfires’ Meyers hit Michael White with a long pass, who relayed it to substitute Patrick Forstner who put a move on Gaboriault and then slid it past him to put the Spitfires back in the lead.

With just over nine minutes left in the game, Bauer laid a solid bodycheck along the board, but it sent him to the box, to put Expedia on their third power play of the night. With thirty seconds left in the Spitfires penalty kill, Meyers found Chanokchon “Tan” Limpinphet behind the Expedia defense with a long stretch pass to send Limpinphet breaking down the ice, and he fired a wrist shot past Gaboriault to put the Spitfires up by two. A minute later, Expedia doing some fancy passing from Ashton to Phandaj “Win” Khuhakeaw to Expedia’s captain Mike Wilson resulted in a score that brought Expedia back within one.

With two minutes left in the game, there was a bit of a scrum in front of the Spitfires net as Spitfires’ captain, Brad Wilson cleared out a player with a crosscheck, which sent him to the box for the rest of the game. Expedia called a timeout, pulling their goalie to try and take advantage of the power play, keeping the puck mostly in the Spitfires zone, but they just couldn’t finish it off. With eighteen seconds left in the game, Meyers was called for his second penalty of the night, this one for tripping, but the Spitfires stayed strong to finish this one off 3-2 with Expedia having a slight advantage in shots, 33-27. The Rolling Stone Pizza Player of the Game went to Pattarapol “Dream” Ungkulpattanasuk for stopping 31 of 33 shots.

Aware came into the second game, atop the standings having won their last nine games while Hertz came into this one losing a tough one to the Sukhumvit Spitfires last week. Things didn’t look good for Aware in this one, with them missing quite a few players, but they started well at 5:20 of the first period, when sub Arthit “Beer” Thamwongsin received a pass from Sittipan “Nicky” Sukpanichcharoen and put the puck past Lance Parker. Hertz stayed strong after this, not allowing many more scoring opportunities for the rest of the first period.

Hertz’s Alasdair Fawcett & AWARE’s Devin Michael chase the puck.

The second period saw Darius Konotopetz get a delay-of-game penalty early on when he tried to clear the puck out of Aware’s zone and sent it out of the rink, but Aware’s penalty kill did a great job of clearing the puck from their zone, even generating a few scoring opportunities of their own. Thamwongsin got his second of the night after receiving a pass from Devin Michael just over six minutes into the second period. With just shy of a minute-and-a-half left in the second period, David Boere of Aware scored off of a pass from Ollie Moyse.

Four-and-a-half minutes into the third period saw Sukpanichcharoen lay a crushing bodycheck on a Hertz player, earning a bodychecking penalty for his efforts, but again, Aware’s incredible penalty kill rode this one out with no problems. With 1:30 left in the game, Hertz pulled Parker from the net to try and break Patrick Leduc’s shutout, but they just couldn’t score and with 1:18 left in the game, Sukpanichcharoen passed to Aware captain Patrik Lundback who spotted Thamwongsin behind the Hertz defenders, hitting him with a long stretch pass, which Beer turned into an empty-net goal to give him a hat-trick on the night and earn him the Rolling Stone Pizza Player of the Game award. Patrick Leduc notched his first SHL shutout in Aware’s tenth straight win, as AWARE dominate the shots on goal 37-19, for a 4-0 final.

The SHL standings see AWARE with a stranglehold on first with its 13-2 record; the Sukhumvit Spitfires are in second spot at 9-6; while Expedia and Hertz stay tied for third with a 4- 11 record.

Hertz’s Andy Brine continues to sit atop the SHL stats race with 20 points; followed by Expedia’s Juhani Ijas and AWARE’s Devin Michael are tied for second spot with 19 points each. Expedia’s Jordan Ashton sits in third with 16 points and AWARE captain Patrik Lundback is in fourth spot overall with 15 points.

The SHL continues play on Sunday February 11th with AWARE playing Sukhumvit at 8:30pm and Hertz playing Expedia at 9:30. Admission is free and all games take place at the Rink, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX.